October 2, 2007

Justice Thomas drives south, "drinking beer and watching other cars slide off the road and crash into one another."

In the Fall of 1980, Clarence Thomas is working for the Republican Senator Danforth, and he's just registered as a Republican for the first time and voted for Ronald Reagan. On the invitation of Thomas Sowell, he attends a conference on economic policy. There, he meets the journalist Juan Williams, and he speaks freely to him -- in a way that he now portrays as naive. Williams writes a column about him -- and Thomas is not too upset about it to decline to pose for the photograph that accompanies it. But now he's publicly exposed as a black conservative -- who criticized his sister for her dependency on welfare -- and he's feeling the emotional toll:
Not long after the column appeared, Kathy [his wife] and Jamal [his son] went to Worcester to spend Christmas with the Ambush family [his in-laws]. I stayed behind in Washington. Christmas no longer meant anything to me, and I preferred putting in extra time at the office to celebrating a holiday about which I no longer cared.
Even as a time to spend with family? There's more to this than dissatisfaction with religion, but he has never even described his loss of Christian faith (though he has described many instances of race discrimination by individuals who purport to be Christians).
I started drinking as soon as they left. I woke up sick and depressed early the next morning. All I could think about was the angry reaction to the Post column.
He didn't think of his wife and child going off without him for Christmas? He didn't think about whether he wanted them gone so he could drown himself in drink? This memoir gives us the material to see how much of his problems were personal psychological problems. His grandfather abused him and deprived him of love. He seethed with anger and couldn't feel the love he wanted to feel for his family. He had a serious drinking problem. But the conscious narrative is that he was the victim of race discrimination, especially coming from liberals who wanted to herd black people and deny them their individuality.
It made no sense to me. Why was it wrong for me to speak my mind? All at once I felt an overwhelming desire to drive down to Savannah and see my family. I didn't understand why -- Daddy [his grandfather] and I were as distant as ever -- but somehow I knew I needed to be with them. I threw my clothes into a suitcase, grabbed a six-pack from the refrigerator, and headed out the door. Freezing rain had fallen during the night and the windshield of the car was thickly covered with ice, but that didn't stop me. I chipped it off and headed south, drinking beer and watching other cars slide off the road and crash into one another.

ADDED: In the next paragraph -- I'm blogging as I read -- he decides he has to leave his wife "in order to survive." He confesses to "the emotional emptiness at the center of my marriage," but he has abstained from writing one unkind word about Kathy. That's understandable, but it makes the story a little false, and I'm left wondering about how honestly he's portraying his emotional trajectory. He hasn't said anything about sex. And he began studying for the priesthood and believed at one time he had a calling into that life that demands celibacy. There are sexual themes that are utterly unexplored, and yet they will become central when Anita Hill appears on the scene.

171 comments:

former law student said...

The thought of spending the holidays with one's mother- and father-in-law could drive one to seek any excuse not to go.

John said...

Just drinking and a driving,
You know I have paid my dues
Because alienations for the rich
and I'm feeling poorer every day

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Not a very flattering portrayal of his life. I wonder if that is because:

1) He is entirely antisocial and sees nothing wrong with his feelings and actions.
2) He has decided to give an honest accounting of his life.
3) He wants us to believe he is giving an honest accounting of his life, so when he tells a big lie later we will believe him.
4) He is part of the high-tech lynching out to get himself.

Any other explanations?

knoxwhirled said...

Wow, he's not afraid to be warts-and-all is he.

Trooper York said...

Therapist: Frank, this is a safe place. A place where we can feel free sharing our feelings. Think of my office as a nest in a tree of trust and understanding. We can say anything here.
Frank: Anything? Well, uh I guess I, deep down, am feeling a little confused. I mean, suddenly, you get married, and you're supposed to be this entirely different guy. I don't feel different. I mean, take yesterday for example. We were out at the Olive Garden for dinner, which was lovely. And uh, I happen to look over at a certain point during the meal and see a waitress taking an order, and I found myself wondering what color her underpants might be. Her panties. Uh, odds are they are probably basic white, cotton, underpants. But I sort of think well maybe they're silk panties, maybe it's a thong. Maybe it's something really cool that I don't even know about. You know, and uh, and I started feeling... what? what I thought we were in the trust tree in the nest, were we not?
(Old School)
Labels: family life, sex, Clarence Thomas

Cedarford said...

Thomas used another "road" metaphor later that I liked better. Because of his background, lack of resources, and any saftey net - he saw his life like a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway with the Cliffs so close - where he could survive a small mistake or defeat in what he had set out to do, but not a big one.

Over the Cliff he would go.

This was a guy that would have been homeless but for the kindness of relatives. Who knew cold and hunger and the daily indignities of the ill-educated circle he was in. Who had a brain but had so much to fix to be allowed to move on up the ladder. A bad exam, and he could have been back in public school. A bad grade in university, and he is finished...

A lot of poor people know that feeling. Back in the 90s, I had "poor phase", family breakup, debt and the same feeling that I might survive a small mistake, but not a big one. A big one and everything would unravel.

Then it was his marriage breakup that had him fretting he was more like his Dad than his grand dad.

I don't think he would have survived the Anita Hill smear if he hadn't remarried.

Richard Fagin said...

I left my wife for my own emotional satisfaction, and you won't ever get me to say anything bad about her. She deserves better than that, and than me. I don't see that as a false narrative any more than it seems so from Clarence Thomas.

Zeb Quinn said...

The first marriage was clearly an unhappy one. My guess is that was the actual source of much of the angst, drinking, and anti-social attitude during that time period.

Ann Althouse said...

If you're telling a story and there's a big part of it you're unwilling to tell, then you aren't telling the whole truth. Maybe you have moral reasons that override the interests of those who are reading the story, but that is a reason to criticize the story. There are worse memoir problems -- notably, flattering yourself. But it's still a problem with the book, and it's a special problem here because he is going to criticize another woman.

Trooper York said...

Well Im southbound, lord Im comin home to you.
Well Im southbound, baby, lord Im comin home to you.
I got that old lonesome feelin thats sometimes called the blues.

Well I been workin every night, travelin every day.
Yes I been workin every night, traveling every day.
You can tell your other man, sweet daddys on his way.
Aww, ya better believe.

Well Im southbound.
Whoa Im southbound.
Well you can tell your other man, sweet daddys on his way

Got your hands full now baby, as soon as I hit that door.
Youll have your hands full now woman, just as soon as I hit that door.
Well Im gonna make it on up to you for all the things you should have
Had before.

Lord, Im southbound.
Yes Im southbound.
Whoa Im southbound, baby.
Said Im southbound.
Well Im gonna make it on up to you for all the things you should
Have had before.

(Dicky Betts 1973)

Joe said...

Speaking only for myself, there is a difference of speaking out against someone who wronged you publicly and doing so against someone who wronged you privately.

Whatever issues my wife and I may have, they are extremely private. I know many men who feel and act the same way, even when their spouses have broken that wall of confidentiality.

It's called honor.

MadisonMan said...

he decides he has to leave his wife "in order to survive."

What a narcissist. It's all about him. It's astounding that he considered the priesthood in light of how he treated his marriage vows.

Joe said...

I've long learned not to judge someone by the state of their marriage. I know men who stayed in extremely abusive marriages because they took their marriage vows very seriously. In the end, though, had they not finally left it would have destroyed them and, in some cases, their children. They are still honorable and will not bash their former wives.

(Unfortunately, I've heard far too many women not do the same. In one vivid case, I thought the man was horrible until I heard the full story [and read several documents by law enforcement and the courts]. The truth in that case was 180 degrees from what I had thought.)

former law student said...

He hasn't said anything about sex. ... There are sexual themes that are utterly unexplored

I'm really looking forward to your memoirs, Ann!

Most people expurgate their memoirs, unless they're famous for their boudoir activities.

Trooper York said...

"I can't find Pussy anywhere."
(Tony Soprano Season 1 episode 11)

titus22 said...

Where's Worchester?

Did he mean Worcester?

He's a bitter, angry man isn't he?

Richard Dolan said...

"If you're telling a story and there's a big part of it you're unwilling to tell, then you aren't telling the whole truth. Maybe you have moral reasons that override the interests of those who are reading the story, but that is a reason to criticize the story."

It is inconceivable that anyone in public life would ever "tell the whole truth" in a memoir. Even in a book intended for publication posthumously, everyone has some aspect of his life that he will keep private. The reason isn't necessarily "moral" in any relevant sense; it's the value of discretion in the service of matters that should remain private (whether or not disclosure would cause any specific harm to another). Only in fiction, where the author gets to play all-knowing creator, is one likely to find the "whole truth" about anyone's story, and then only if the author is among the less skilled at his craft. Leaving some things out is essential to keep up the interest and maintain some of the mystery of life. It's also a recognition that there really is no such thing as the "whole truth" about any of us -- that's a narrative conceit that makes patterns, adds explanations and creates connections over time that aren't quiet true to the way life was lived. It's just the best we can do in making sense of things. In that sense, too much psychologizing -- especially when applied to oneself in a memoir -- often just confuses banalities, often misleading in themselves, with insight.

Carl said...

Oh, poor Clarence!

I bet the next chapter starts "Then one day a strong rain came and warshed all th' crops away..."

What a BS artist, sheesh! Anita Hill looks better and better with each passage I hear about.

titus22 said...

When's our moderate independent going to be reviewing something by someone who isn't a complete winger like Thomas?

I look forward to your review of Kathryn Jean Lopez's new book, that should be great. A true intellect that Katey Jo.

He is one ugly mofo though. Could you imagine seeing that face come down on you as he mounts you and begins the torture of ramming his thomas in you. Pure hell.

Now Rush or Bill Bennett-those two would be an excellent lay. I thinking about them right now...I will be back in a few.

titus22 said...

Oh good, the wingers from Instapundit are here now too.

Let's all jerk off over Clarence Thomas.

No I think he is amazing....


I agree he is incredible...

So strong and masculine...

I agree very strong...

I love him...

Me too....

Let's pull a I love Thomas train and at the end we can have a big circle jerk.

John said...

"There are worse memoir problems -- notably, flattering yourself. But it's still a problem with the book, and it's a special problem here because he is going to criticize another woman."

So because he is going to criticize Hill, he is obligated to savage his ex-wife and air all of their martital dirty laundry at her expense? How does that follow Ann? Seriously you statement makes no logical sense.

MadisonMan said...

Carl, I hated that song. Talk about overplay!

Luckyoldson said...

Thomas is a nutcase.

How can anyone believe anything this man says?

as in...he NEVER discussed Roe vs Wade...throughout his entire law school years?

Get real.

Luckyoldson said...

Trooper York said..."I can't find Pussy anywhere."
(Tony Soprano Season 1 episode 11)

C'mon, Trooper...provide something you're not stealing from someone else.

Have you ever had an "original" thought or do you promarily rely on what others say and write to express yourself?

Even an "original" attack on me would be a welcome relief from the drivel you're throwing out there.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann Althouse said..."If you're telling a story and there's a big part of it you're unwilling to tell, then you aren't telling the whole truth."

Right on the nose.

I just finished the book and it's the most self-serving piece of tripe I've ever read.

The term; "woe is me" comes to mind throughout the entire book.

jeff said...

"What a narcissist. It's all about him. It's astounding that he considered the priesthood in light of how he treated his marriage vows."

Do tell. Explain to us everything you understand about his first marriage. Clearly you have complete knowledge of both sides that the rest of us do not to make such a sweeping statement about something that happened over 25 years ago.

John said...

Speaking of first marriages Ann, would you like to tell us all about yours? Clearly if you are unwilling to give all of the private dirt down to the grusome aspects of your sex life, you are not being truthful with us. Further unless you are willing to give the unvarnished truth about your ex husband, you have no right to criticize other men like Thomas.

Ralph said...

Maybe Thomas wants us to know he's extremely lucky--that he didn't kill someone driving drunk on ice.

If he told us anything about his sex life, wouldn't you be more likely to believe he told dirty jokes at work, etc.?

Trooper York said...

Quoting isn't stealing when you provide attribution. Please quote your dear old grandfather when you repeat ad nauseam the two things he always told you:
1. Read a book.
2. Suck it.

Luckyoldson said...

John said..."Speaking of first marriages Ann, would you like to tell us all about yours? Clearly if you are unwilling to give all of the private dirt down to the grusome aspects of your sex life, you are not being truthful with us."

This is a "blog, dipstick...not Ann's "memoir" or "autobiography".

YOU comment here and don't even have the guts to post a "profile."

Luckyoldson said...

Trooper,
I know what a "quote" is.

Why not provide some insight that isn't related to something OTHER people say or write?

As for:
1. Read a book.(I'm sure others have said it, but I like to think it pertains more to many of the people here...who evidently don't read ANYTHING. (In your case, I suspect your primary reading material consists of song lyrics and poems you filch for what you consider pithy material.)

2. Suck it.(Again, others have said it many times, but I like to "personalize" the statement when dealing with people like yourself.)

*I'm sorry you can't come up with anything other than "quotes" of other people's comments, etc., but that goes hand in hand with not having original thoughts before you comment.

Too many jims said...

Today's sign of the apocalypse: Lucky steps up to defend Prof. Althouse and does so rationally even.

John said...

John said..."Speaking of first marriages Ann, would you like to tell us all about yours? Clearly if you are unwilling to give all of the private dirt down to the grusome aspects of your sex life, you are not being truthful with us."

This is a "blog, dipstick...not Ann's "memoir" or "autobiography".

YOU comment here and don't even have the guts to post a "profile."

So what if it is a blog? Althouse is commenting on the world and her life and her past. In some ways a blog is an even more personal memoir. It just picks up at a certain point.

The premise seems to be that just because someone reveals some of their private life, they are obligated to reveal all of it even if doing so would be harmful to someone else. That is bullshit. Thomas is entitled to withhold private facts about his marriage. A memoir is not an all or nothing proposition.

Further, what basis does Althouse have to believe that any of these unsaid facts are in any way relevant beyond her own crackpot psychoanalysis of Thomas? It is not like she has any first hand knowledge of the marriage.

Trooper York said...

God bless there cupcake, but why don't you just worry about your own commentary and let me worry about me. I am happy to stack my contribution up next to yours and let the chips fall where they may. Why don't you stop critiquing other people's comments and give us the benefit of your own insightful original commentary unfiltered by your thoughts about other styles. I sure that's what everyone else wants to hear. Needless bickering between commentators serves no purpose other that self-gratification. I know that is your hobby, but not everyone wants to witness it so starkly positioned on our screens. All the best.

SMGalbraith said...

He didn't think of his wife and child going off without him for Christmas? He didn't think about whether he wanted them gone so he could drown himself in drink

Why wouldn't a man acting like this - so selfishly - not also be capable of telling dirty, ghastly jokes to women? After all, this was the same period where the incidents allegedly occurred.

On the other hand, all the evidence shows (AFAIK) that Hill was the only women he acted (allegedly) this way.

Surely, these demons would have manifested themselves elsewhere? Other women, other incidents?

I can understand not wishing to be with a wife that you're estranged from. But your son? During Christmas?

Ugh.

SMG

former law student said...

He didn't think of his wife and child going off without him for Christmas? He didn't think about whether he wanted them gone so he could drown himself in drink

Why wouldn't a man acting like this - so selfishly


Letting your wife take your kid to her parents for Christmas is quite unselfish. A selfish man would have demanded she stay to celebrate Christmas in their own home.

I can understand not wishing to be with a wife that you're estranged from. But your son? During Christmas?

No man here has spent the holidays at their in-laws (for whom no man could be worthy of their daughter), on a hide-a-bed in the living room? It is more likely to be an endurance contest than a carefree family time. Imagine Thanksgiving dinner multiplied by 168 hours.

Ralph said...

Some folks have apparently had some bad holiday experiences. Thankfully, exposure to my stepmother has been minimal for some years.

Luckyoldson said...

Too many jims,
You should pay closer attention many of my comments.

The only things I write that most here concentrate on are my responses to those who attack or post nonsense in the name of "comment"...as in:

John says..."In some ways a blog is an even more personal memoir."

Right.

*Now, if I could only come up with a really keen song lyric to finish this off...Trooper would be in awe.

Luckyoldson said...

Trooper,
Read more...talk and "quote" less.

John said...

Way not to respond to anything I said Luckyold son. Better to just make witty retorts like "right" and "dipstick" than actually think about whether writing a personal memoir obliges a person to reveal every aspect of their personal lives regardless of how hurtful those aspects may be to others. Don't bother to think or anything just know that this is Thomas and every accusation against him not matter how unreasonable must be true. Life for lesser beings like you is just easier that way.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Today's sign of the apocalypse: Lucky steps up to defend Prof. Althouse and does so rationally even.

Next week: Mickey Kaus finally realizes that no one but himself gives a rat's ass about Ron Burkle. Then: the Cubs win the Series. Let's all give a big End-Times welcome to the Antichrist!

Luckyoldson said...

John,
Anyone can say anything in their own "memoir."

That certainly doesn't make it true, nor does it substantiate anything they claim to be true.

I read the book an the man spends most of his time bitching about how he was treated poorly by damn near everybody.

I'd like to see Thomas and Hill take a lie detector test about the allegations he glosses over by dismissing her as Hill his "most traitorous adversary" and describes her as a second-rate worker who was likely to overreact to "slights," and that her testimony was politically driven and used as "a weapon to destroy me, clear and simple." (Have the FBI administer the test.)

*She responds here: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/

Pogo said...

1.Lucky,
Trooper York's references are dead-on target, and funny to boot. Can't help it if you don't get them. In contrast, your comments could be written by 3 monkeys on Haldol. And probably are.

2. I learned from my love of music never ever ever to inquire about the personal life of the famous or successful. The man behind the curtain is very small indeed. And a memoir is primarily an exercise in self-preservation, so discretion is the better part of chatter.

3. I'm not writing my memoirs until after I'm dead.

4. Lots of men never talk about their relationship with their wives, not even to close friends. Ex-wife chatter is dishonorable. I understand his choice completely.

5. Titus, really. Must everything you write be filtered through your priapic lenses? You're not still 14, trying to capture the danger of being too young in the gay bar. It's quite a bore, a bit like Fonzy at fifty.

Luckyoldson said...

Paul Zrimsek,
I wouldn't bet on the Cubs.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo said..."Trooper York's references are dead-on target, and funny to boot."

And we're supposed to accept what YOU think is "dead-on" and "funny?"

GFL.

MadisonMan said...

jeff, read his words. They are full of self-pity and as someone else said Woe Is Me-ness. And to throw away your vows of marriage and then contemplate the priesthood is completely bizarre. Why should the church believe a person can accept the vows of priesthood when they can't accept their vows of marriage?

John said...

Luckyoldson,

I was not commenting on the memoir as a whole. I haven't read it so I have no opinion of the book. I was commenting on Althouse's outragous argument that Thomas is somehow obligated to give every detail of his first marriage because he later criticizes Hill. That is just as stupid as saying that Althouse owes everyone a detailed description of her first marriage because she criticizes other men. One does not follow the other and the fact that Thomas chooses not to tell everything about his first marriage says nothing good or bad about his comments concerning Hill.

Revenant said...

Why wouldn't a man acting like this - so selfishly - not also be capable of telling dirty, ghastly jokes to women?

I'm not seeing the connection between "being selfish" and "telling dirty jokes".

Luckyoldson said...

Here's an extensive commentary by Anita Hill:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/opinion/02hill.html

SMGalbraith said...

I'm not seeing the connection between "being selfish" and "telling dirty jokes".

E.g., Evidence of being inconsiderate or uncaring about the feelings of others.

E.g., Doesn't care whether others would be embarassed by such stories.

I'm agnostic on the issue re who was telling the truth. But a tie favors the accused and not the accuser.

SMG

Pogo said...

And we're supposed to accept what YOU think

What you mean we paleface?

Pogo said...

Unless you're actually schizophrenic, then my apologies.
To both of you.

Luckyoldson said...

John,
I think Ann's overall point is that Thomas picks and chooses what he want to discuss or not discuss...and that makes for a pretty thin view of who the man really is.

I know this; Damn near everything he says about Anita Hill in the book has been disproved or investigated and refuted by many.

As an example: Thomas claims Hill was a mediocre employee who had a job in the federal government only because he had “given it” to her.

And that comment itself sums up his self-serving attitude throughout the book.

Anita Hill was a Yale law school graduate (his alma mater by the way) and had passed the District of Columbia Bar exam...and if that doesn't qualify someone from being a "government employee"...we're in trouble.

Revenant said...

to throw away your vows of marriage and then contemplate the priesthood is completely bizarre

Well, not as bizarre as contemplating entering the priesthood while still married. :)

Why should the church believe a person can accept the vows of priesthood when they can't accept their vows of marriage?

In order to officially end his marriage in the eyes of the church (obviously a prerequisite for entering the priesthood), Thomas would have to obtain an annulment. This would retroactively make his marriage vows null and void in the eyes of the church (this is what he eventually did). So Thomas wouldn't be violating his earlier vows, so far as the church was concerned.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo asks: "What you mean we paleface?"

Sorry, I meant those who think and aren't swayed by the standard silliness exhibited by many here.

I'm sure some of the people here think Trooper's never-ending quotes, gleaned from songs, poems, movies, television shows, etc. are hilarious.

Revenant said...

E.g., Evidence of being inconsiderate or uncaring about the feelings of others.

E.g., Doesn't care whether others would be embarassed by such stories.

People who don't care about other peoples' feelings don't tell them jokes, in my experience. You tell jokes to make other people laugh, after all, and if you don't care if the other person's amused or not then what's the point?

I'm at a loss to think of a single coworker I've ever had who was both anti-social and prone to telling jokes.

Luckyoldson said...

For Trooper...and if you'd like to hear it, too: (http://www.ziplo.com/LuckySun.html)

Up in the mornin' Out on the job
Work like the devil for my pay...

But that lucky old sun got nothin' to do...

But roll around heaven all day.

Fuss with my woman, toil for my kids...

Sweat till I'm wrinkled and gray
While that lucky old sun got nothin' to do...

But roll around heaven all day.

Dear Lord above, can't you know I'm pining, tears all in my eyes...

Send down that cloud with a silver lining, lift me to Paradise.

Show me that river, take me across
Wash all my troubles away...

Like that lucky old sun, give me nothing to do...

But roll around heaven all day.


Send down that cloud with a silver lining, lift me to Paradise...

Show me that river, take me across
Wash all my troubles away...

Like that lucky old sun, give me nothing to do...

But roll around heaven all day.

SMGalbraith said...

People who don't care about other peoples' feelings don't tell them jokes, in my experience. You tell jokes to make other people laugh

Dirty jokes? About scenes from pornographic movies?

All, of course, allegedly.

You've never been around or heard about men who enjoy telling salacious or risque jokes because they like to see people's reactions? Sometimes women's?

They enjoy telling jokes not to make people laugh but to make themselves laugh at their unease?

I sure have.

SMG

steve simels said...

Here's the bottom line.

Clarence Thomas is a liar, a bitter twisted self-loathing fuck, and a seething cauldron of resentment who by temperament and talent shouldn't have been let within fifteen miles of the Supreme Court.

The sheer cynicism necessary for George Bush to have nominated him for the Court is beyond breathtaking, and speaks volumes about the, yes, evil of the Republican Party.

Sorry.

vnjagvet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vnjagvet said...

Dealing with five adult daughters and their female friends for many years, SMG, I have heard women telling exactly the same kind of jokes that you described; some with the expressed purpose of making me uncomfortable.

Little did they realize that nothing of that kind made me uncomfortable in the slightest after four years at a fraternity in an all mens school, three years in law school with a student body 95% male, and four years in the service. Locker rooms, fraternities and barracks require a working vocabulary which is quite different from that learned

The girls attempts to make their dad uncomfortable came up short.

former law student said...

Check your chronology, folks: Thomas wanted to be a priest as a teenager, and went to a minor seminary for hs, and then to a college-level seminary for one year.

Luckyoldson said...

steve simels said..."Clarence Thomas is a liar, a bitter twisted self-loathing fuck, and a seething cauldron of resentment who by temperament and talent shouldn't have been let within fifteen miles of the Supreme Court."

DITTO

SteveR said...

steve simels is a liar, a bitter twisted self-loathing fuck, and a seething cauldron of resentment who by temperament and talent shouldn't have been a vaunted pop music critic.

SMGalbraith said...

I have heard women telling exactly the same kind of jokes that you described; some with the expressed purpose of making me uncomfortable.

Sure, I've been around women who like to say outrageous things - including sexual stories - to, apparently, try and shock people. They enjoy the reaction.

Again, I'm not alleging that Thomas did this at all.

The point is that people who make very salacious comments appear to do so for their own self-centered reasons. Not to make other laugh; but to enjoy watching them be uncomfortable.

SMG

Luckyoldson said...

former law student said..."Thomas wanted to be a priest as a teenager, and went to a minor seminary for hs, and then to a college-level seminary for one year."

I guess it's a good thing...at least for some of the alter boys...he changed his mind.

Andrew Shimmin said...

Thanks for blogging this, professor. Poverty forces me to put off buying the book till it hits the remainder bin, but you're making it difficult.

Revenant said...

You've never been around or heard about men who enjoy telling salacious or risque jokes because they like to see people's reactions? Sometimes women's?

You're ignoring the fact that nobody else noticed this behavior. So that should be "who enjoy telling salacious or risque jokes to exactly one person, without other people noticing this habit".

Have I heard of such people? Sure, in bad feminist literature. Have I ever met such a person? No, because they don't exist.

SMGalbraith said...

who by temperament and talent shouldn't have been let within fifteen miles of the Supreme Court.

Because if he had been a liberal, no liberals would have promoted him the way Republicans did?

Who believes this?

Both parties in Washington are looking for young talented people to promote their agendas.

Holy Cross graduate with high academic achievements, Yale Law at a time when few black Americans had such accomplishments. Especially black conservatives.

Had Thomas been a liberal, he would have been groomed just as aggressively.

Besides, what makes a great (or even good) Justice? Thurgood Marshall was a great man with great courage and a great advocate.

But his Supreme Court decisions are just mediocre. AFAIK, no one cites anything he wrote.

Thomas's writings on Federalism, from what I've read, will indeed be quoted by future courts.

SMG

Revenant said...

One more point -- you're also ignoring the fact that the picture of Thomas painted here is that of a person who is frankly uncomfortable around other people. He is selfish in the sense of wanting to be alone.

That kind of person does not crack salacious jokes to his coworkers.

Seneca the Younger said...

If you're telling a story and there's a big part of it you're unwilling to tell, then you aren't telling the whole truth.

Or maybe you're human?

Do you tell every detail of what wewnt wrong in your relationships? Are you sure that if you did, you're be telling the whole truth?

SMGalbraith said...

Revenant:
You're ignoring the fact that nobody else noticed this behavior.

I noted that above. If these demons led to aberrant behavior, if you will, it should have manifested itself in other situations, with other people.

Hill is the only one making the charge.

Now we're discussing a different point. I.e., not if he did it; but whether he showed a characteristic of those who do.

A "rough" case can be made that he did (at that time). Maybe.

Again, I don't know. Total conjecture.

Tie goes to Thomas.

SMG

Luckyoldson said...

Revenant said..."He is selfish in the sense of wanting to be alone.
That kind of person does not crack salacious jokes to his coworkers."

Good Lord...what in the world are you basing this conclusion on?

There are people who also fit the description of those "wanting to be alone" who come to work carrying assault rifles, too...and they're sometimes described as being the last person anyone would ever suspect of being homicidal.

I have friends who are extremely shy, but open up at parties and BBQ's, tell jokes, stories and generally act like...regular outgoing individuals.

And if Thomas really wants to be left "alone"...why did he write a memoir?

Luckyoldson said...

SMGalbraith said..."Hill is the only one making the charge."

Actually that's not true. There were others, but for whatever reason they never appeared before the Senate. (Politics? Weak-kneed Democrats? Who knows?)

Google the hearings and you'll find all kinds of information that few are aware of.

Victor said...

How's the quality of the writing?

I liked his interviews, although I wonder if he transfers blame rather freely (e.g., the left caused me all of these woes - they are so full of it).

SMGalbraith said...

Revenant:
You're right. No other person ever came forward.

Anyone who wasn't willing to come forward is simply smearing people.

Anonymous smears should always be ignored. No person, receiving such a charge, would dignify them if the person wouldn't come forward.

Anonymous posters who repeat the smears should similarly be ignored.

SMG

Trooper York said...

Lucky, I really enjoyed your quote. It was on the money, to the point and actually gave more of a clue into your sensibility than a lot of your more combative posts. Sometimes an oblique approach can be very effective. Just a thought. All the best.

Ralph said...

why did he write a memoir?

An excellent question. As lawyers go, he's probably never made very much money as a government employee, but there must be more to it than that. Why now?

Luckyoldson said...

Trooper,
Good God...my world is upside down.

Thanks.

titus22 said...

If this would of been a liberal writing this book the right would of slammed him for being such a victim but because he is conservative he is a hero.

He is a too bit liar. Also, he was completely unqualified for his position but with many conservatives qualification or experience mean nothing-they only care about the idealogy. So we get Brownie etc. They might not know shit about their job but they will vote the right way and support the party. I think it would be great if Hill and Thomas agreed to a liar detector test.

Luckyoldson said...

Ralph asks: "Why now?"

I personally think, based on my reading of the book, that he's spent his entire life feeling like he's been misunderstood and to a degree, oppressed.

He constantly bitches about affirmative action and such, yet most would look at his nomination as just that.

I think he has some things going on in his mind that most wouldn't want to see or hear about.

And...his situation with Anita Hill is rather strange. He describes her as a loser yet hired her twice and wrote glowing recommendations for her. I think (personal opinion) that she was telling the truth, but I don't know if that warrants his not being confirmed...other than his being a right wing extension of Scalia of course.

SMGalbraith said...

Why now?

He explained it.

His advancing age and physical problems makes it difficult to travel and address audiences. He's scaling back on his public appearances.

SMG

Revenant said...

Now we're discussing a different point. I.e., not if he did it; but whether he showed a characteristic of those who do.

But selfishness isn't a characteristic of people who crack salacious jokes. Yes, some joke-tellers are selfish, just like some joke-tellers have brown hair. That doesn't mean you can say "ah hah! He has brown hair -- that makes me think he might tell dirty jokes".

Trooper York said...

Lucky, I think you are a pretty smart guy, and although I don't think we agree about much, actually anything, I think you definitely have a sense of humor and a judicious quote here or there makes your point, for those that are perceptive enough to get it. Remember if all the voices in your head are laughing, you are on the right track. Now back to our regularly scheduled invective.

Trooper York said...

A man and his wife go to their honeymoon hotel for their 25th anniversary. As the couple reflected on that magical evening 25 years ago, the wife asked the husband, "When you first saw my naked body in front of you, what was going through your mind?"

The husband replied, "All I wanted to do was to f*ck your brains out, and s*uck your tits dry."

Then, as the wife undressed, she asked, "What are you thinking now?"

He replied, "It looks as if I did a pretty good job."

(Clarence Thomas 2007)

SMGalbraith said...

But selfishness isn't a characteristic of people who crack salacious jokes. Yes, some joke-tellers are selfish, just like some joke-tellers have brown hair

Do you think that someone who likes to embarass others by telling dirty jokes is likely to be a selfish or a selfless person?

Using others for one's own gratification with no regard for them is usually evidence of the former.

Look, as I noted, this is all conjecture.

Thomas's selfish act, as I see it, noted above may be evidence of the type of person who enjoys selfishly embarassing others.

Or, more likely, evidence of me not knowing what the hell I'm talking about.

Smart folks go with the latter.

SMG

John Stodder said...

It doesn't take much to get the pinheads all excited around here.

I haven't read the book, and I appreciate the blogging-while-reading posts very much. They are more informative than Thomas' press interviews which are somewhat more sanitized.

It goes without saying that anyone who would waste his time and ours caricaturing Justice Thomas as "a liar, a bitter twisted self-loathing fuck, and a seething cauldron of resentment who by temperament and talent shouldn't have been let within fifteen miles of the Supreme Court" is a childishly extreme partisan, and someone who thinks he knows much more than he actually does.

Thomas is coming across to me as a very complex person, someone who has very loud demons he's had to confront, but who was gifted with intellectual and moral courage with which to do battle with these demons. He loves and hates his grandfather just as he loves and hates this country. Far from the "uncle tom" slanders the left hurled at him, he is deeply aware of this society's pervasive racism. Only, in his view, this racism is codified in either of two ways: Jim Crow or Affirmative Action.

Most of us see the latter as progress from the former. He sees them as two sides of the same coin. This is a fascinating view of it from someone who's lived it. Because he votes wrong, he'll be ignored by the people who most need to hear what he has to say. Too bad.

SMGalbraith said...

Because he votes wrong, he'll be ignored by the people who most need to hear what he has to say. Too bad.

Good post.

Thomas is laying out his demons, demons that bedevil us all in various ways and at various times.

It's interesting that people who like to pride themselves on being compassionate and forgiving and non-judgmental are the ones jumping on these admissions and gleefully attacking him.

Politics is a blood sport, admittedly; but most of us have limits on how much blood we're willing to draw.

Others apparently have no limits.

The same ones who complain, sometimes correctly, about the harshness from the Limbaughs and Hannitys.

SMG

Trooper York said...

A man and a woman started to have sex in the middle of a dark forest. After about 15 minutes of it, the man finally gets up and says, "Damn, I wish I had a flashlight!". The woman says, "Me too, you've been eating grass for the past ten minutes!"
(The Life & Times of Mr Magoo 1965)

Blake said...

I'm actually surprised at the level of candor revealed by what Althouse has quoted so far.

Clearly, he's not interested in portraying himself as a saint.

Seven Machos said...

a bitter twisted self-loathing fuck

Has a better definition of Steve Simels ever been written? At least we have here a man who knows himself, even if he projects the knowledge onto others.

Seven Machos said...

How to Think Like a Liberal, by Seven Machos

Example #1. White person is against affirmative action. Appropriate response: "You are a racist pig."

Example #2. Successful black person/minority member is against affirmative action. Appropriate response: "You are self-loathing and you never would have had any success but for affirmative action. Oh! The delicious irony!"

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Do you think that someone who likes to embarass others by telling dirty jokes is likely to be a selfish or a selfless person?

That's a false dichotomy, especially since selfless people don't exist. But is a selfish person more likely to tell dirty jokes than a normal person? No.

Using others for one's own gratification with no regard for them is usually evidence of the former.

First of all, that's a description of a sociopath, not a selfish person. A selfish person is concerned with himself. A person who sees nothing wrong with tormenting others for his own personal amusement has left "selfishness" far behind.

Secondly, your description doesn't fit Clarence Thomas or the behavior he describes in his memoir, so the question of whether or not your hypothetical sociopath would have been likely to torment Anita Hill is irrelevant to this dicussion.

Thirdly, you are continuing to obsess over ONE aspect of his personality while ignoring all the others. All selfish people are not alike. A person whose selfishness constantly manifests itself in a desire to be left alone is NOT the same kind of person who cracks dick jokes around the office because he's too self-involved to notice that the women are flinching.

Seriously, now, you read a description of his wanting to leave his wife so he could pursue a life of celibate religious and intellectual study and came away from that having missed everything except the fact that he seemed selfish. Did you not pause to think that while he was indeed selfish to think that, a man who selfishly pursues a future of celibate intellectual inquiry is dramatically LESS likely to pass the time talking about Long Dong Silver and pubic hairs on Coke cans than the average man is?

Revenant said...

Jim Crow or Affirmative Action. Most of us see the latter as progress from the former. He sees them as two sides of the same coin.

Who's the "us" in that sentence -- liberals? Because the observation that discriminating against whites in favor of blacks is the same sort of racism that discriminating against blacks in favor of whites was is not exactly shocking in conservative or libertarian circles.

Trooper York said...

"My Grandfather's Son," Chapter Six Page 197
“After my divorce I went to my doctor and said, "Doctor, you've got to help me. My penis is orange." He paused to think and asked me to drop my pants so he can check. Damned if my penis isn't orange. The doctor said, "This is very strange. Sometimes things like this are caused by a lot of stress in a person's life."
Probing as to the causes of possible stress, the doctor asked, "How are things going at work?" I responded that I was fired about six weeks ago. The doctor told me that this must be the cause of the stress. "No. The partner in charge was a real jerk, I had to work 20-30 hours of overtime every week and I had no say in anything that was happening. I found a new job a couple of weeks ago where I can set my own hours, I'm getting paid double what I got on the old job and the boss is a really great guy." So we figure this isn't the reason.
He asked "How's your home life?" "Well, I got divorced about eight months ago." The doctor figures that this has got to be the reason for all my stress. But I said, "No. For years, all I listened to was nag, nag, nag. God, am I glad to be done with that." So he takes a few minutes to think a little longer.
He inquires, "Do you have any hobbies or a social life?" The guy replies, "No, not really. Most nights I sit home, watch some porno flicks and munch on Cheetos."

Luckyoldson said...

SMGalbraith said..."His advancing age and physical problems makes it difficult to travel and address audiences."

He's 59.

If he's in such bad shape, why doesn't he resign??

Money perhaps? Pay back perhaps?

He's an asshole.

SMGalbraith said...

you are continuing to obsess over ONE aspect of his personality while ignoring all the others. All selfish people are not alike.

I'm not obsessing over it. I was simply responding to your posts.

I simply proposed that his, as I saw it, selfish act of leaving his wife and child alone over Christmas, may - may - be indicative of a type of person who is more likely to selfishly tell dirty jokes in order to enjoy the embarassment it causes.

I think - and you disagree with me - that people who enjoy telling dirty jokes in order to watch others squirm do so out of a selfish or self-centered personality. And it may have nothing whatsoever to do about sex.

I also said - several times - that it seemed to me that that type of person would have numerous incidents of selfish behavior.

And that there is no evidence that other women were treated the way Dr. Hill alleged she was.

All psychobiographical conjecture. Which is what, I had assumed, blogs were about. I.e., posting our thoughts and opinions on the blogger's comments.

And it's about here that this conversation has lost all of its steam.

You can have the last word. I'll move on.

Thanks.

SMG

Luckyoldson said...

John Stodder said..."I haven't read the book..."

Than why are you commenting?

Why not take the time actually read something before you start in with the standard bullshit??

And...yeah, yeah...I know...you're a not a Republican.

Bullshit.

Andrew Shimmin said...

the observation that discriminating against whites in favor of blacks is the same sort of racism that discriminating against blacks in favor of whites was is not exactly shocking in conservative or libertarian circles.

That's not Thomas's position though. His position is that Jim Crow is as discriminatory against black people as affirmative action is against black people. In his interview with ABC (at least, in the piece written about it, on ABC's website) he seems to disdain what he calls the conservative position that Affirmative action discriminates against white people.

Luckyoldson said...

Seven Machos said..."...a bitter twisted self-loathing fuck...Has a better definition...ever been written?"

Yes, here it is...

Seven Nachos: Ass-sucking, right wing moron.

How's that?

vnjagvet said...

That luckyoldson has nothing to do but roll around his lair and call people names and hurl scatalogical invective.

Kind of makes you appreciate the old, corny song.

Seven Machos said...

This is too easy, Lucky. Have you read the book?

Your posting today makes me believe that you are a conservative in disguise.

John Stodder said...

Andrew said basically what I was going to say. Further, it appears from the excerpts of the book provided here and elsewhere, they have the same deeply embittering effect on Thomas. Either way, he is feeling discriminated against, not helped.

I realize he is counted as a conservative/libertarian, but this seems like a far more personal than philosophical or partisan observation on Thomas' part.

---

As for LOS and simels, I'm sorry nobody played with you when you were little. Unfortunately, nothing's ever going to change in that regard. So keep being crabby, keep thinking name-calling is commentary and eventually you'll die and your misery will be over.

Daryl said...

he decides he has to leave his wife "in order to survive." He confesses to "the emotional emptiness at the center of my marriage,"

That sounds like a typical thing you'd expect to hear from a woman.

but he has abstained from writing one unkind word about Kathy.

Nope, he's definitely a man.

SMGalbraith said...

Ed Morrissey reports that Thomas's motivation, in part, to write the book was that he (Thomas) has:

[R]eached a point in his life where he wants to let go of some tasks, such as travel and outreach efforts which have taken up most of his spare time from the Court. He has tired of the grind and wants to spend more time with his family.

I had stated health reasons, in part, as being the cause for the book.

Different type of fatigue.

Wrong again.

SMG

steve simels said...

Seven Machos said...
How to Think Like a Liberal, by Seven Machos




Shorter Seven Machos:

I'm so sick and tired of being called a racist!

Waaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Revenant said...

In his interview with ABC (at least, in the piece written about it, on ABC's website) he seems to disdain what he calls the conservative position that Affirmative action discriminates against white people.

The characterization that he opposes affirmative action "for entirely different reasons than white conservatives who drive the debate by arguing it's unfair to white people" is ABC's; it is not a Thomas quote. The examples Thomas gives are ones widely used in both conservative and libertarian circles.

Pogo said...

Simels,

I can safely say that the "Shorter xyz" method of commentary has been thoroughly mined and its utility exhausted.

I realize it's a comfortable tool to use, like your favorite hammer. But after awhile, everything looks like a nail. Beyond the laziness inherent in such repetition, the comedy of that cute little snark has long passed its sell-by date.

As to Thomas. I'd like to shake his hand and have a drink with him. He sounds quite interesting.

garage mahal said...

Simels
But you're a pop music critic!

Now let's see you try to compose yourself and respond to that zinger. Crippling insult, I know.

John Stodder said...

Shorter steve simels:

If they won't let me call my enemies racists, I got nothin'!

Waaaaaaa!

steve simels said...

garage mahal said...

Now let's see you try to compose yourself and respond to that zinger. Crippling insult, I know.


I know, pretty devastating stuff. My fragile ego simply can't take many more blows like that.

Seven Machos said...

It's true. What can Thomas do? While Simels is hurling lame insults and reviewing the new Sebadoh concept album for upwards of 350 avid readers, Thomas sits in a lonely office in Washington and merely determines the course of American jurisprudence.

Sucks to be him. Powerless. Rudderless. And, of course, everything he has he owes to proper-thinking white liberals.

SMGalbraith said...

My fragile ego simply can't take many more blows like that.

Judging by the quality and content of your posts, it's not just your ego that is fragile, my friend.

And the Judge doesn't have to been Clarence Thomas either.

Ginsburg or Breyer would make the same ruling.

Hell, even Judge Reinhardt of the 9th District.

SMG

Luckyoldson said...

Seven Machos asks: "Lucky. Have you read the book?"

Have you taken the time to read any previous posts, asshole?

Yes, I have.

And we ALL know you haven't.

Try it sometime.

Luckyoldson said...

John Stodder,
Read the book, dickhead.

Then comment.

Seven Machos said...

Sorry, Lucky. I didn't read your previous posts. I usually ignore you because you are a trolling idiot.

Also, no one here likes you.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo said..."As to Thomas. I'd like to shake his hand and have a drink with him. He sounds quite interesting."

Yeah...riveting. (Of course, without actually READING the book...)

Pogo, you have to be the biggest suckass I've ever encountered on a blog.

Seven Machos said...

Do you have to read someone's autobiography to know that you'd like to meet that person?

Certainly, the reverse works. Lucky, I have never read your autobiography, would never read it, and have no desire to meet you in person (though I do bet you are ugly).

titus22 said...

Good evening republicans.

Let's move on and talk about something other then Clare.

Let's talk about the upcoming election.

Hard to believe but in 4 months are the first primaries.

Where is everyone at in their heart and head in terms of candidates?

I don't have a clue who I am voting for but am interested in who some of the other commenters like in the election??

Seven Machos said...

Than.

Also, this is a thread about Clarence Thomas.

Luckyoldson said...

Seven Machos said..."Do you have to read someone's autobiography to know that you'd like to meet that person?"

No.

But maybe if you actually read ANYTHING about ANYTHING you'd make more sense.

Thomas sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry...unless of course, you enjoy listening to someone whine about how mistreated they are.

Funny...but that sounds a lot like...YOU.

Luckyoldson said...

Seven Machos said..."...bet you are ugly."

Wow.

Luckyoldson said...

Seven Machos said..."...no one here likes you."

Wow.

Seven Machos said...

You nutcase motherfuckers. Don't you fucking dipshits see? It all fucking comes fucking back to the same fucking thing:

Read a book, assholes.

What a hoot.

Pogo said...

LOS,
Why thank you!

What, no award? Friggin' cheapskate.
Plus, oddly enough, backwards, your name is Finnish for "hemorrhoid", and, when inverted, contains the ancient Mayan term for "unworthy of sacrifice". Coincidence? I think not.

I wanted to shake Reagan's hand and have a drink with him as well, even though I never actually read his book either. I read several of Al Franken's books, because he used to be funny. I don't want to shake his hand. I read "Hillary's" "book", but I don't want to shake her hand, and I had to have two drinks.

I shook Gore's hand, but never read his book. I did fall asleep during his talk, however. I was very tired. I read "My Pet Goat", and I don't want to shake Mr. Moore's hand, nor Osama's, but definitely Mr. Bush.

I cannot shake Hayek's or Mises' hands because they're dead.


Anyway, LOS, I suspect there was some vague point you were trying to make, but it all comes out sounding like ca ca poo poo blah blah poopyhead.

P.S. Titus, does your numerical appellation contain some reference to the age of maturity you're attempting to display? I mean it.

Luckyoldson said...

seven,
You need to grow up.

titus22 said...

I just read The Prince and loved it.

Anyone else read The Prince?

Feedback?

I am trying to read and expose myself to different authors. So this is what I just purchased from Amazon, The Age of Reason by Sartre; East West by Salmon Rushdie; Sexus by Henry Miller; A Room of Ones Own, Virgina Wolf; Snow by Pamuk; Undiscovered Self by Jung and The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe.

I am half way through The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and find it fascinating.. I was born in 1970 so this era was something that I only know about through what I have read. It must of been an interesting time to be alive, no?

I am kind of into reading about all of those beat people. Ginsburg, Kerouac, Cassidy, Ken Kesey. It seemed to be a very interesting time.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo says:"...ca ca poo poo blah blah poopyhead..."

Say what??

How old are you and seven?

You must be very young.

Seven Machos said...

I know, man. I am fucking immature. A total nutcase. An asshole. A dipstick.

I really need to use better language.

Luckyoldson said...

seven,
It's not a case of "language."

It's a case of content and presentation.

You sound very immature.

Seven Machos said...

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is my favorite book. It works on many levels. For example, how can you not love Kesey? On the other hand, count the number of people who go crazy.

Also, I used to like The Prince but then it changed its name to an unpronounceable sign and it went down hill.

Seven Machos said...

Oh, fucking believe me, Lucky. I fucking know. No question: Iif I wasn't such a dipticky nutcase when it comes to content and just a fucking asshole when it comes to presentation, I'd be a whole lot fucking more lucid.

That much is for fucking sure.

titus22 said...

Pogo, can we try and stop with the insults and actually have a conversation?

I am 37. So I guess my posts makes me sound like an immature 20 something. Hopefully we got that out of the way.

Seriously, I am curious what others are reading or their views on some of the books I recently purchased.

I get tired of all the back and forth attacks, and I am guilty too!! I know.

But after awhile it gets boring and predictable. Any chance of a moratorium on the insults?

I am also into listening to "Are you going to San Francisco" remix currently-it's very cool. I listen to it when I am doing abs.

Seven Machos said...

Titus -- I am with you. Note that I did reply seriously after your second try.

I can't stand the absurd immaturity here. As I hope can be seen by at least some, it really bothers me and I feel compelled to take a stand against it.

titus22 said...

Is Ken Kesey still alive? He wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next. Sad to say I haven't seen that movie.

Seven Machos said...

Kesey died not too long ago. I've never seen the movie, either. But don't worry, neither has Ken Kesey! He refused his whole life to watch it over artistic disagreements with the director.

I could read Acid Test again and again. The Jesus parallels are quite astounding and, from what I understand, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a basic retelling of the Christ story.

Kevin Lomax said...

"This was a guy that would have been homeless but for the kindness of relatives. Who knew cold and hunger and the daily indignities of the ill-educated circle he was in. Who had a brain but had so much to fix to be allowed to move on up the ladder. A bad exam, and he could have been back in public school. A bad grade in university, and he is finished...

A lot of poor people know that feeling. Back in the 90s, I had "poor phase", family breakup, debt and the same feeling that I might survive a small mistake, but not a big one. A big one and everything would unravel."

That struck a nerve with me. I've lived a much more interesting life than one would guess by looking at me. I guess it is the old curse of living in interesting times. While we always had some sort of family safety net, we did grow up poor and even still to this day, I fear one wrong move and everything I've worked so hard for is gone. Others in my family haven't been so lucky...

In the end though I am my father's son and the wrongs in my life have made me who I am and given me the motivation and skill to reach and attain.

While I have a huge and growing reading list building up while I'm finishing law school and doubt I'll have much more free time when in biglaw, I'll put this book in my list because I can relate.

titus22 said...

How would commenters on this site define Tom Wolfe's political leanings?

Seven Machos said...

Probably to the right, but in the way that, say, P.J., O'Rourke is to the right.

The man is brilliant. From Bauhaus to Our House and The Painted Word and Radical Chic and Maumauing the Flak Catchers are all brilliant.

titus22 said...

How is One Flew Over the Cuckoos' Next a retelling of the story of Christ?

Did Ken Kesey write anything else?

How much impact did this beat generation have on the country and culture as a whole?

There was quite a backlash against these individuals wasn't there?

In the year 2007 there doesn't seem to be this type of counter culture in the country.

It sounds like the hotspots were San Francisco/Berkeley; Cambridge; The Village, Madison, Wi.

I went to school in Cambridge and you don't feel or see any remnants of this past. Yes, Harvard is liberal but today you rarely see what must of been a common occurrence their in the 60's and 70's.

Harvard's school of Government and Business School have quite a few conservatives today

titus22 said...

Your smart Seven Machos-that is how I thought of him. Similar to PJ right/libertarian.

I am surprised that this group has not gathered a stronger base of support to field more candidates for office. I agree with quite a bit with what O'Rourke has to say and believe that many Americans do.

Kirk said...

LOS,

Trooper manages to exhibit one quality that, so far, has quite escaped you: he's entertaining.

And re this:

"I think Ann's overall point is that Thomas picks and chooses what he want to discuss or not discuss"

That makes Thomas different from every other autobiographer how, exactly???

Steve S:

"... evil of the Republican Party."

Hey, see you in the Civil War, if that's what your after. Otherwise tone it down a bit.

Seven Machos said...

Titus -- I don't know the novel or the New Testament very well either story very well, so it would be impossible for me to explain without research. But I've seen the argument a lot.

As for Ken Kesey himself, Wolfe's view obviously was that he was similar to Jesus in that he was this crazily charismatic guy with talented people around him and a kind of message. The other thing is that Kesey started it all. Raves. The Summer of Love (he was doing it all much earlier). The idea of simply not caring about Vietnam -- all Kesey, at least in Wolfe's telling.

Also, I manifestly do not believe that faculties were more liberal in the 1960s than they are today. Students? Probably.

bill said...

Ken Kesey's notes while writing "Sometimes a Great Notion" (a better book than"Cuckoo's Nest"). From a collection of notes and rough drafts published by Northwest Review:

Now about this business with the words: wouldn't it be easier to turn the mind to one task at a time and quit worrying about so many. As I rewrite I'm trying for effect with arrangement and interwoven P.V., something to give the reader more than one eye, tis is going to be tough enough. I should devote most of this time through to that. To arrangement alone. I've got plenty techniques mow for prisming the P.V., all of which need polishing badly, so I don't need to continue experimenting, at least not in the time left me, I should go right on through as quickly as possible, all the way through, in fact, before I so any more yellowpage work, and saving enriching the covubulary for a later stage. I'm trying to block in and tend to detail all at once.

Maxine Weiss said...

Titus 22: Did you call the Police and report what happened to you at age 7 ??

If you don't--I will !!!

Love, Maxine

jeff said...

Titus- Have you read any Hunter Thompson? He was a acquaintance of Kesey's, and introduced him to the Hells Angels in the 60's.
PJ ORoark is Libertarian or a South Park Republican.

Clarence Thomas is a interesting man. From where his life started to where he ended up makes for a fascinating story. I would also like to meet him. Anyone who thinks he doesn't have the mental horsepower to sit on the SC just isn't paying attention. Or letting their racist or idealogical blinders block the obvious.

Pogo said...

Titus,
Wolfe's nonfiction works are among my favorite books. He is an astute observer of human behavior. He cannot be pigeonholed into right or left, I think. He even did a book of cartoons during the 1970s, a rare one, but worth his wise commentary.

Windbag said...

Wow, what a brutal thread. I hope Anita Hill isn't listening in or a bunch of you might be called on the carpet for your language.

Trooper's jokes had me laid out on the floor laughing.

Somebody called Thomas narcissistic. For cryin' out loud, this is an autobiography; who should the main topic be?

I don't get the digs against our hostess. This is a blog, not a tell-all book. To demand that her personal life's details are a prerequesite for questioning Thomas' editorial choices is bizarre, at least.

How many have read an autobiography and disliked the author more than before you read the book? G. Gordon Liddy's left a very negative impression of the man, in my view.

Luckyoldson said...

Kirk,
I'm glad you find Trooper entertaining.

Other than that, why would I care about anything you have to say about me?

John Stodder said...

I think it's fair to call Tom Wolfe a cultural conservative. He doesn't bother with politics much, except inasmuch as it illuminates cultural trends that fascinate him much more.

But there's no ambiguity about where he stands on much of modern art, architecture, sexual mores, amoral business practices, celebrity narcissism and so on...he sees the world as having taken a distinct turn for the worse sometime in the last 100 years. I think the world of 1890 would've been a happy place for Tom Wolfe. Or maybe 1920.

Titus22, your request for a civil discussion is much appreciated. The name-calling around here is more than depressing, and it's driving out the good commenters across the political spectrum. LOS has somehow positioned himself as the spokesman for the left on these comment threads and, as I'm sure you'll agree, he falls short of coherence most of the time.

What he and a few others don't get is that many of the commenters here are genuine independents. He is so quick to label people. Everything is black and white, and he's in a hurry to put everyone he encounters into one category or the other, rather than engage the ideas being expressed. It's incredibly boring and makes me want to stay away from this otherwise superb blog for days at a time. If the next time I come back I see you being thoughtful in your disagreements, and LOS, dtl, simers et.al. marginalized as they should be, it will be a welcome change.

losergrrl said...

What crap this all is.

Don't you people have anything better to do?

I recommend a hobby, such as stamp collecting, or perhaps learning to play the recorder. A chess match should keep your mind away from this. A good game of whist would do the same.

For the sports-minded, why don't you take up cricket? It's an interesting game, rather more subtle than baseball, with the advantage that it's played in many more countries.

Another passtime would be to read the damned book you are talking about.

Of course, for the ultimate hobby, you could all just practice not breathing. Think of the carbon savings. Also, if all the Althouse commentors were to disappear from the earth at once, it would raise the collective I.Q. of the planet.

jeff said...

Or perhaps take up the hobby of lecturing my betters on what they should spend their time doing.

Luckyoldson said...

losergrrl said..."What crap this all is. Don't you people have anything better to do?"

And you're here because...?

*Hence the moniker: loser.

Seven Machos said...

losergrrllllll -- Superb analysis. What are your hobbies?

losergrrl said...

If you must know, my hobbies are gardening, opera, reading, quilting, and handcuffs.

My infrequent visits to this blog should be called, "A Series of Unfortunate Events."  The last two times I was here, a similar brawl was underway.  I came this time, because I was interested in reading Judge Thomas's book, and this place turned up in a Google search.

I came. I saw. I gagged.

I agree with Mr. Stodder above, and plan to visit even less frequently.

In the meantime, you all should take a deep breath, and count to 1000, slowly.

Seven Machos said...

Loser -- Ignoring the vitriol, you actually sound like you could be a worthwhile contributor here.

The fact is that there are some brilliant posters here (some, sadly, have abandoned us) and they often seem to get lost in the fray thanks to a few shallow, very loud, rude people.

As for me, I sometimes get annoyed and I start protesting.

I think the rule should be: get civil or be deleted. But that's just me. That goes for everyone, obviously, and so 80 percent of my posts today would be deleted but I have been being responsive, and I think the people I am trying to reach understand that.

Windbag said...

losergrrl has improved the readers' experience by...??? ad hominem attacks, crypted sexual references, anti-American sports quips, and death wishes all around. Gosh, I'm sure the next few visitors will find that the conversation has taken a turn for the better.

Seven Machos said...

Listen, man. I don't know loser ggrrrrlll from the next person and for all I know she is a Lucky clone. But what would you think if you walked into this mess?

Windbag said...

Scroll up to about 11:30 and you'll see what I thought after reading this mess. It's been an ugly thread, but her contribution lowered the quality. The casual observer shouldn't overestimate his importance to the overall scheme of things.

If she were a frequent contributor, or even a sporadic one, that would be one thing. I bounce around blogs and read the comment sections, but generally refrain from jumping into the conversation, since I'm just a visitor. She'll likely not read what I posted, since I'm sure she's moved on to find another offense at the next blog.

To take such a sanctimonious and critical stance is quite common on anonymous comment sections at blogs. I just thought I'd point out the hypocricy of her comments, that's all. I'm not trying to pick a fight, just having a bit of fun pushing the buttons of someone who's advertising their location.

Seven Machos said...

That is probably 100 percent true. I feel corrected.

Windbag said...

I don't mean to scold or correct. Just saying where I'm coming from. By the way, you don't happen to have any rum, do you?

Seven Machos said...

Grain alcohol only after this thread.

former law student said...

Compared to the three day nap that is cricket, baseball is rollerball. And thirty-nine countries play baseball in Europe alone (Regensburg is looking to win its first-ever Bundesliga championship, for example). Baseball is most popular in the US, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Venezuela, Austria, Taiwan, Italy, South Korea, Cuba, Ireland, Dominican Republic, Singapore, Vietnam, Belgium, Colombia, Finland, Nicaragua, and Panama.

amba said...

You cannot tell the whole truth. You can't. The whole truth can't be told.

I write this as someone thinking I'll have to write a memoir some time. And there are things I will just not be able to tell. I know exactly what they are. People wouldn't want to hear them, either. You can't ever tell the whole truth.

Ann Althouse said...

titus: "So this is what I just purchased from Amazon, The Age of Reason by Sartre; East West by Salmon Rushdie; Sexus by Henry Miller; A Room of Ones Own, Virgina Wolf; Snow by Pamuk; Undiscovered Self by Jung and The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe."

It's Salman Rusdie. Salmon is a fish. Or a Supreme Court Justice.

Good luck with the books.

As for Tom Wolfe's politics, here's a good article, which includes:

Mr. Wolfe offers a personal incident as evidence of "what a fashion liberalism is." A reporter for the New York Times called him up to ask why George W. Bush was apparently a great fan of the "Charlotte Simmons" book. "I just assumed it was the dazzling quality of the writing," he says. In the course of the reporting, however, it came out that Mr. Wolfe had voted for the Bush ticket. "The reaction among the people I move among was really interesting. It was as if I had raised my hand and said, 'Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, I'm a child molester.'" For the sheer hilarity, he took to wearing an American flag pin, "and it was as if I was holding up a cross to werewolves."

George Bush's appeal, for Mr. Wolfe, was owing to his "great decisiveness and willingness to fight." But as to "this business of my having done the unthinkable and voted for George Bush, I would say, now look, I voted for George Bush but so did 62,040,609 other Americans. Now what does that make them? Of course, they want to say--'Fools like you!' . . . But then they catch themselves, 'Wait a minute, I can't go around saying that the majority of the American people are fools, idiots, bumblers, hicks.' So they just kind of dodge that question. And so many of them are so caught up in this kind of metropolitan intellectual atmosphere that they simply don't go across the Hudson River. They literally do not set foot in the United States. We live in New York in one of the two parenthesis states. They're usually called blue states--they're not blue states, the states on the coast. They're parenthesis states--the entire country lies in between."

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, amba. Are you up late or up early? I'm up early. Reading Justice Thomas's book put me to sleep at 9 PM. I'm back up again and ready to finish the thing.

Of course, you're right that you can't tell the whole truth. How boring that book would be... and long. But the memoirist is responsible for the selections he makes, and if he's protecting some people -- especially himself -- while slamming a select few, I'm going to be critical. On the first page of the book, he slams his father for leaving him and he wonders how a man can do that to his children. Later, he leaves his own son, and he really doesn't explain why. He wants to protect the wife and child. Okay. But if he's purporting to write a good book, that's a problem. Find a way to finesse it.

My biggest problem at this point is that sex is not talked about at all, and sex is going to be the issue with Anita Hill.

And whoever said I should reveal the same things about my own life. Maybe I would in a memoir, but I don't see any post here where the failure to say something personal about myself makes something I have chosen to explore hard to understand. I choose not to write about my family, and I am not trying to present a psychological profile of myself for your enlightenment.

MadisonMan said...

former law student: thanks for the correction. I realized this morning I had the timeline bass ackwards.

James Kabala said...

This is first I've heard that baseball was played in Britain, Ireland, or Switzerland, but it is cool if true. Former law student is definitely right about those other countries, however.

By the way, there is no "h" in "Worcester." I hope that was your mistake rather than an error in the book, considering Thomas went to college there for four years and married a local woman.

Mr. B. said...

Am I hallucinating?

I was here early this morning and there seemed to be another post that
I wanted to comment on...

What happened?

Ann Althouse said...

I have never deleted a post.

I delete some comments...